"The man who created the famous seated statue of Abraham Lincoln was Daniel Chester French, a sculptor born in New Hampshire
in 1850. He studied sculpture in New York, Florence and Paris and produced his first famous work -- The Minute Man
-- in Concord, Mass., in 1873-74. The seated figure of Lincoln was produced between the years 1918 and 1922.
We in New Orleans are lucky to have four statues created by Daniel French. It's really too bad that they are on the top
of a building -- the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at 600 Camp St. Their lofty perch makes them hard to admire without
binoculars or unless you happen to be in one of the taller buildings nearby.
The statues of copper and bronze called The Ladies represent History, Agriculture, Industry and Commerce. Each one
stands on a balustrade on a corner of the building, and each holds an open globe surrounded by zodiac signs. French added
a southern touch of palm and banana fronds to the base of his Italian Renaissance-style statues.
The three-story building itself was designed by James Gamble Rogers of New York and completed in 1915 at a cost of $2 million.
Initially it was used for a post office and weather station, as well as a courthouse for the Court of Appeals and the federal
District Court. And when Hurricane Betsy destroyed McDonogh 35 High School in 1965, the courthouse was used for five years
as a substitute schoolhouse. The Court of Appeals had moved out when renovations were needed, and after a 10-year stay in
the French Quarter, returned in 1973.
The building was renamed in 1994 to honor one of the great men of New Orleans and the nation: Judge John Minor Wisdom.
He had received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993 for his landmark civil rights decisions. "